Singapore / Updates

please slow it down

My parents have left for two weeks. I think the next three weeks before my IB results are going to throttle me with its passivity, the sensation of suspension in limbo, its aimlessness. Yesterday, however, I spent nearly five hours painting a mural (three on shading a giant sun, and almost two on set-up and touch-up) as part of my ‘trial’ position at the arts organization I emailed last year regarding home service. They replied my email this May, asking if I was still interested. Mural painting is actually very therapeutic, and at least, I’m accomplishing something tangible. I do hope their expectations of my art skills don’t extend into the impossible, though. Basic shading and sketching, I can do, and I can tell when something’s off – it’ll just take me a while to fix it.

Conversations the past two days with a few people momentarily re-invigorated me. They also reminded me that I’m too young to be bored, even in Singapore, and that these should be the best months of my life. I should be travelling, doing something meaningful. I’ll never get this time back again. And I won’t. But I spent the last two years abroad, and that’s more than what my friends here had, and so I can afford to be – should? – be more grounded in my plans. Am I too young to be worrying about money like this? Or at least financial independence. I worry about my family so much, and then I snap at them, am alternately sweet and sullen. Where is the line between the freedom of their choices and my responsibility to them? Singapore can’t hold me anymore, I don’t think, but how much of that is simply the disguised luxury of family support? Am I naive to think that I’ll do well overseas, alone? But at least I’llfeel more fulfilled. Where is this place, anyway: overseas? Why is it a panacea for everything, with me?

My house gets stifling, very quickly. Too many people, too many sets of expectations, and the fact that my parents don’t enforce them makes my own conscience harsher in its discipline. What do I really want to do? Spend time with my family, meet people, study, volunteer, until July. I could find myself really caring about the arts organization, but only if I become sufficiently involved in it, only if I’m invested in. Then I want to start planning for university, start emailing people, contacts, join FB groups, settle my budget, my priorities. Arrange to meet up with people. Aug: Leave, go to Shanghai, HK, for a few days, and then go to Europe for six weeks before university starts, to fulfil a semi-childhood dream: WWOOF! I’m thinking France and Germany, simply because I want to achieve some kind of proficiency in the two languages.

Of course, all these plans fall through if I don’t make my conditions. Less than three weeks.

These days, when I walk into a supermarket, I become disoriented by all the ways it’s different from the Superstore. Somehow, the memory of it has been retained as one of the symbols of Canada. The hours I’ve spent wandering its vast array of shelves, usually dragging an exasperated person behind me. I was surprised to find that Singaporean supermarkets were less well-stocked than their Canadian counterparts; the rose-tinted glasses of memory, and all that, right? And yet, that works both ways, too. The heat in Singapore is severely discouraging. I told S over lunch the other day that I realized there was nothing else for anyone to do if they wanted to meet up with friends but eat. Or amble through shopping centers aimlessly, but its stale air-conditioning and nondescript press of people bother me now. And I’ve gone off food a little, oddly enough. It’s way too hot to linger in the heat, outside. It was a disheartening moment. I almost miss Pearson College Drive. It’s odd – at Pearson, I didn’t quite feel like there were many people I wanted to be slipping through the woods with. Here, there aren’t any woods for me to talk my friends through. I would start going out at night, but people are so respectable here. I miss a lifestyle, more than anything else. I’m struck by how charmingly neat Singapore is, almost pretty, and I do find it, the people heartwarming, but they aren’t anything I aspire to be, and isn’t that the minor tragedy in all of this? Hasn’t that always been?

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